Coaches' Profiles, Winter 2019
John Liffmann – Director, Board Member, Youth Coach, Adult Instructor
John Liffmann is one of the founders of Cohasset Maritime Institute, and has been serving as a rowing coach and beloved mentor to CMI athletes for years. John started rowing himself at a young age, competing in many open water rowing pilot gig races in New England and Europe. While coaching youth in Hull, John met Jack Buckley, who was heading an alternative high school program for coastal exploration, and they worked together to build a rowing element to the program. The rowing portion of that program later evolved into what is now known as CMI.
As a coach, John inspires and instills in youth the love of open water and rowing, while helping build both inner and outer strength. Many of John’s alumni at CMI move on to join crew programs in college and beyond. John has been a Director of CMI’s youth program for many years, as well as a member of CMI's Board. He is also the founder of the “Liffmann Challenge” portion of a local indoor rowing competition known as the “Crash Bobs” out of Hull Lifesaving Museum. One of CMI’s boats, the “Anne and Eddie” is named in honor of John’s family and his overall contribution to helping build CMI into what it is today
John is a driving force at CMI, and trains rowers of all levels and abilities.
Jack Buckley – Emeritus Board Member, Youth Coach, Adult Instructor
Jack Buckley is also one of the founders of Cohasset Maritime Institute, and has achieved the status of “Emeritus” with CMI. In the early 1990s, and while teaching an Alternative program for Cohasset High School students, Jack met John Liffmann on a rowing excursion with the Hull Lifesaving museum. From that point forward the two worked together to bring coastal rowing to Cohasset waters. When Jack’s Alternative program later evolved into what is now CSCR (the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research), while the rowing portion evolved into CMI, Jack continued to assist CMI in its many endeavors to bring rowing to Cohasset in honor our rich maritime history.
Jack’s enthusiasm and dedication for building coastal educational programs, and well as his 31 years of teaching in the Cohasset school system, is a legacy for our community. It is no wonder that Jack was recognized as Cohasset Citizen of the Year in 2014. In addition to his role as President of CSCR, and his countless service activities, Jack has also served as an Executive Director for CMI.
Jack continues to coach and mentor students and adults participating in CMI’s seasonal programs. In addition, Jack spearheads CMI’s Learn-To-Row initiates for newer rowers, graciously continuing to bring knowledge and enjoyment of the coastal waters to many.
Susan Bryant – Youth Coach, Adult Instructor
Susan Bryant is a Cohasset native whose enthusiasm and good-nature are known by many. Susan was practically born on the water, taking swim lessons as a toddler from pioneer oarswoman Marj Burgard (of the Alden Shells), and later feathering the oars of her Rookie sailboat to row like her parents and their friends. When Susan took up sliding seat rowing in high school, long-time Cohasset rower and ocean environmentalist Jack Hubbard took her to race at Craftsbury, Riverside and the Isle of Shoals, sharing with Susan his Alden boats and Van Dusen (in his spirit of generosity that Susan enjoys continuing to this day). In her youth, Susan was invited to the Junior National Team Selection Camp, and later rowed with Connecticut College and Riverside Boat Club.
Since returning to Cohasset in 2013, Susan has been involved with CMI, where she brings her undeniable rowing skills and overall love of the ocean to train and develop rowers of all ages. Susan also holds a USCG Captains license, and is adept at sailing and navigation along with coastal exploration.
Susan’s enthusiasm and rowing competence inspires many. When not at CMI, or racing in her own shell, Susan is out with students researching the harbor with CSCR or working on documentaries. She trains rowers at all levels and abilities.
Craig Wolfe – Youth Coach
Known to all of us as “Wolfie”, Craig is a force on the water and beyond. Craig is an accomplished rower, having rowed in pilot gigs for numerous years out of Hull Lifesaving Museum, and later taking up river rowing in racing shells and earning the title of World Master Rowing Champion. Craig raised a rowing family, and likes to joke that he the somehow convinced his children that rowing on the waters around Hull in the middle of the winter was fun. You often see Craig competing in local races, or at the Head of the Charles, in a single or a double scull with his son. There is never a race that Craig will not take on -- with a smile on his face and grit in his heart.
When not out on the water, you can generally find Craig at one of his many volunteer activities. He currently serves as the Volunteer Emergency Response Coordinator for Hull, and has been recognized both locally and nationally for his services in his emergency response capacity. Craig also, among other things, serves as local supervisor for the Red Cross Disaster Action Team in the Boston area and as a Firefighter Rehab volunteer.
Craig has always generously offered his time and assistance to CMI, and, for the last few years, has worked to train CMI’s youth to build their overall rowing skills, knowledge and love of the sport. At CMI, we all know that when Craig’s phone rings on the water, it’s time to row harder — to get him back to shore quickly so he can respond to the next emergency.
Karen Shusterman – Youth Coach and Indoor Rowing Instructor
Karen Shusterman is a Hingham resident who has been coaching youth athletes at Cohasset Maritime Institute since 2015. Prior to joining CMI, Karen coached at Duxbury Bay Maritime School and at the Hingham Maritime Institute (formerly Lincoln Maritime) Institute. Karen has also rowed competitively with Community Rowing on the Charles River, and has competed in rowing competitions including the Head of the Charles. Not only does Karen train CMI's youth for the exciting yet grueling Crash B Indoor Rowing Competition, but she has also taken on this Competition herself, year after year! Karen also has participated in CMI’s Ergathon Fundraiser since its inception, in addition to her other generous fundraising efforts to benefit CMI.
Karen is certified as a Concept 2 Indoor Rowing Instructor, and has trained rowers at all levels. Karen works with her erg students to meet their individual goals, whether that is competitive training or overall health and fitness. As an on-the-water coach, Karen works to build skills, discipline and agility in rowers.
Abi Kornet – Indoor Rowing Instructor
Abi Kornet is a Cohasset native who practically grew up with an oar in her hand. Since the age of 11, Abi has been on the water, successfully rowing at a competitive level in both high school and college, and even moving on to competitive club rowing. Abi has competed in the US Rowing Club Nationals, the Canadian Henley and the Head of the Charles. Since moving back to the South Shore after being in NYC, Abi splits her time between teaching rowing skills and her dog care business.
Abi is a certified US Rowing Level 2 Coach and currently coaches the boys’ competitive rowing team at Hingham High School. She is also a former Program Director at Cohasset Maritime Institute, has been on the coaching staff at Hingham Maritime institute, and teaches indoor rowing classes. Abi trains all levels and ages -- teaching proper rowing technique and how to understand and use the body effectively, while also improving flexibility and endurance -- and, most importantly, making rowing fun. Constantly witnessing the positive life-long effects of rowing on herself and others, Abi loves paying it forward to anyone interested in learning!